Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Rotary presentation from Have a Heart Humane Society

Rotary Club of Tehachapi


To thank Michael Puffer for his presentation, President Paul Kaminski presented him with a certificate and $100 was donated to the Rotary Foundation in his honor.

On June 13, the Rotary Club of Tehachapi welcomed guest speaker Michael Puffer from Have a Heart Humane Society. Michael oversees the adoption room with a quiet determination and a heartfelt commitment to animal welfare.

As a retired air traffic control supervisor, Michael said he was surprised how a career in air traffic control actually prepared him to run an adoption room because he utilizes his decision-making skills every day. He is continually looking at the needs of animals, as well as considering the needs of people, which unfortunately don't always align. Since taking on this role, Michael has successfully found homes for 135 animals between Jan. 1 and mid-May, a reflection of his steady and thoughtful approach. In retirement, Michael has found his passion in the joy and comfort each adoption brings to both the animals and their new families.

In addition to his duties in the adoption room, Michael is also an active foster parent for Have a Heart. Over the past year, he has provided a temporary home to more than 50 animals, giving them the care, training and the attention they need while they wait for permanent families. His fostering efforts are a testament to his kindness and unwavering support for animals in need.

Michael truly loves what he does now, and says he cannot picture himself doing anything else. He loves giving back to the community and giving back to the pets. He sees himself as an advocate for the animals, and stressed that each animal brings with it a unique story. He thinks it is important to give these animals a voice, and he enjoys finding ways to share their stories.

He also stressed that Have a Heart is the only place where you can go four days a week to adopt. They have very reasonable adoption fees, and they do well compared to other rescue groups. He makes a Facebook video every day to keep their information current on social media. He stressed that what they do is important, especially since county animal services are overrun.

One of the most important events for Have a Heart is holding their low-cost spay and neuter clinics. Through their thrift store and other efforts, they have been able to offer a clinic every month. However, each clinic costs $7,500 to put on, and there is much more demand than they can accommodate. Michael said they probably need to double their efforts because spay-neuter of animals is needed to address the problem. According to Have a Heart, dogs can have two litters per year, and cats can have three litters. Approximately 50% of all litters are unplanned, and 90% of the animals who enter shelters are not spayed/neutered.

"This is not a problem that we can adopt our way out of," he said.

Another important service they provide is a pet food assistance program. They get donations of food, and they repackage it to give assistance to people who would otherwise have to give their pet up due to the food costs. They help approximately 20-30 people each month, and the animals get to stay in their homes instead of being surrendered to the shelters.

Michael embodies the compassionate spirit of Have a Heart Humane Society. His dedication ensures that every animal receives the love and care they deserve, making a significant impact in the lives of countless pets and adopters. Have a Heart Humane Society and Resale Shop is located at 787 W. Tehachapi Blvd., Ste. B, and they are open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Tehachapi Rotary Club meets at noon every Thursday at Kelcy's. Rotary is committed to "Service Above Self," and devotes time and resources to projects in the local community, scholarships for college-bound high school seniors, and supporting global efforts for polio eradication. For more information about the Rotary Club, you can visit their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/RotaryClubofTehachapi/.